Education system in Türkiye
In Turkey, education is compulsory for a duration of 12 years. A law has been issued mandating 12 years of education for children. The duration is divided as follows: 4 years for primary education, 4 years for secondary education, and 4 years for high school education.
This is a four-year compulsory period during which children study core subjects. They do not have the option to choose their subjects until the secondary education period.
This is a four-year compulsory period divided into three types: general secondary education, specialized secondary education, and vocational secondary education. Secondary education is linked to high school education, meaning that if a student chooses a specific type of secondary education, it paves the way for them to continue with high school education. Therefore, in Turkey, high schools incorporate the secondary education as well, so students study for a total of 8 years in one school, known as "Lise" in Turkish.
General High Schools:
These are eight-year schools, and upon completion, if a student wishes to enter university, they must pass the university qualification exams, which are:
- Yükseköğrenim Geçiş Sınavı (YGS)
- Lisans Yerleştirme Sınavı (LYS)
Types of High Schools in Turkey:
Specialized High Schools:
Graduates of specialized high schools can enroll in higher institutes without an exam. Specializations include technology, communication, health, hospitality, tourism, and maritime. These high schools have an additional academic year.
Anatolian High Schools:
Anatolian high schools give significant importance to foreign languages, and some schools offer a preparatory year specifically for language studies. The study hours in Anatolian high schools are slightly longer than other schools, and students can choose a second foreign language during their studies. Examples include Galatasaray High School, Kadıköy Anadolu High School, and İstek Atanur Oğuz High School.
Vocational High Schools:
These schools are specifically established for students who are talented in technical fields or artistic sciences. Graduates can join vocational colleges without an exam.
Imam Hatip High Schools:
These schools are specialized in training imams, preachers, Quran and religious education teachers. They are recognized by the Turkish Ministry of Education and have a secondary education period, during which students study for 8 academic years. This serves as a preparation for joining the Faculty of Divinity in university.
Fine Arts High Schools:
These schools are established specifically for students talented in the fine arts, nurturing their skills from a young age.
Private High Schools:
Also known as "Kolej" in Turkish, these schools teach subjects in foreign languages and have higher tuition fees. Admission to private high schools can be somewhat challenging. Examples include Robert College, Saint Joseph High School, and Austrian High School.
After completing high school or its equivalent, students can enroll in universities based on the exams conducted by the Turkish Examination and Placement Center (ÖSYM) and the Council of Higher Education (YÖK). The exams are as follows:
For Turkish Citizens: They can take two exams:
- Yükseköğrenime Geçiş Sınavı (YGS)
- Lisans Yerleştirme Sınavı (LYS)
For International Students:
They can enter Turkish universities either through the Turkish language exam (YÖS) or by submitting their high school final grades from their home country. Universities are allowed to determine the minimum score or final grade required for admission through the YÖS exam, and this information is announced by the universities themselves.
Universities can also impose aptitude tests for admission to certain specialties, such as technical or musical fields.
Graduates of technical or specialized high schools and similar institutions can join higher institutes without an exam, but graduates of general high schools (DÜZ LİSESİ) must take the YGS exam.
The duration of study in higher institutes is two academic years, and in some institutes, there is an additional preparatory year for foreign languages.
Graduates of higher institutes can continue their studies at Turkish universities to obtain a bachelor's degree (lisans) by passing the Vertical Transfer Exam (DGS).
A bachelor's degree requires four years of study at a Turkish university. However, in certain fields such as medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy, the duration may be extended to five or six years.
Those who have obtained a bachelor's degree can pursue a master's degree according to the requirements of the university they wish to attend. A master's degree typically consists of two academic years and can be either a research-based master's (academic) or a non-thesis master's (professional). For an academic master's degree, the student must earn 21 credits and write a research thesis, while a professional master's degree requires 30 credits and a graduation project.
Those who have obtained a master's degree can apply for a doctorate degree. The student is required to study at least seven courses, earn 21 credits, and pass a proficiency exam to obtain a doctorate degree. Additionally, they must defend their research thesis orally.
After obtaining a doctorate degree in medicine, a doctor can specialize by passing the Medical Specialty Exam (TUS). Upon passing the exam, they are considered specialists and can work in government hospitals, public hospitals, and research hospitals. They are also required to write and orally present their doctoral thesis.
After passing the exams conducted by colleges or higher institutes for artistic specializations, students are required to submit an artistic work that demonstrates the impact and influence of this art on the student. Upon acceptance of this work, the student will be awarded a doctoral degree in their specialization.
Higher Education in Turkey:
There are two types of universities in Turkey that foreign students are eligible to enroll in: public universities and private universities. Both types of universities are fully supervised by the Council of Higher Education in Turkey and are recognized domestically and internationally.
According to an article in the Turkish Constitution issued in August 2012, all tuition fees in Turkish public universities were abolished for Turkish citizens in what is known as the "Free Education" law, until after the undergraduate level. However, foreign students are required to pay some fees, which are considered minimal in relation to the quality of education provided.
Private universities have the right to request tuition fees from students of all nationalities. All fields of study are available in private universities, ranging from business administration and accounting to medical specializations.
Not all universities offer all specializations. It is customary for each university to specialize in a specific branch of knowledge, such as social sciences, engineering, medicine, or a combination of both. Most private universities use English as the language of instruction, so students are prepared for a full year as a language preparatory year.